Autumn Garden Journal #1

Since Casey retired we’ve expanded our bird-feeding operation quite a bit.  We’d had our feeders on the east side and really couldn’t watch the birds from there.  When we moved one of them around to the south, I was inspired to bring  all the feeders out where we could sit in the dining room–which has full windows to the east– and watch the birds empty them from our rockers.

At nearly the same time as this vision occurred I bought Sharon Sorenson’s book, “Planting Native to Attract Birds to Your Yard” and it seemed to be a sign that I should plant around the feeders with natives.  You’d be surprised what’s Not native and I already owned a few…  My Jane Magnolias are not native, meaning the birds don’t actually get nutrients from them, but they love to use the branches to perch and use it in all seasons to take their turns at the feeders.  Daisies are another non-native that I am over-run with, but I moved them to the Rose and the North Garden.

Sticking with her recommendations about new buys, I bought a maple-leaf viburnum and planted near the back.  Unfortunately, it had a sudden attack by viburnum beetles in August.  We caught it pretty early and put it in a large pot and babied it, so I think it will be all right.

I also picked up some black-eyed Susans (rudbeckia) and purple coneflower (echinacea), two of my long-standing favorites, though I killed quite a few Susans when I didn’t divide them for a decade or so.  Because I had no place to plant them permanently at the time, we crammed them together around the bird-feeders.

And so the time came to make my vision manifest.  I drew it up on graph paper and got Casey’s approval.  Then I brought out the bricks and used them to mark out my ideas.

I dug up the poor susans and coneflowers  and called in my Muscle.

It all came together like this…

It’s a work-in-progress, to be continued, but my Original Goal has been accomplished…

The view from the dining room should entertain us year-round…

Just in time, we have some rain!! It will take a lot to make up for the drought we’ve experienced, but it’s a start…

 

Keep on Growing…

 

 

The Conservatory

As you can tell, I haven’t posted a single-solitary-thing on this blog since 7/29/18…  If you follow The News from Sonnystone Acres you already know that we built an addition to connect our kitchen porch with our laundry room/shed (in these old houses you have to learn the art of re-purposing).  It has polycarbonate walls and ceiling, is attached to our porch, and is used as a greenhouse or sun parlor, so it qualifies as a conservatory.  I’m thinking of Clue…and  the candle holder…and Miss Scarlet…

 

I don’t have much confidence in my ability to actually grow things in my conservatory, even though I’m pretty good with houseplants.  As a result, folks often remark that I have a green thumb and to that I say Ha!  I did once get some fungus growing under a fake nail, but that is as close as I’ve been to even understanding the term.

What I know is that some houseplants are hardier than others and therefore able to withstand being forgotten for a while if they’re in the right spot.  Since Most of my indoor plants are 5-10+ years old, they are now like pets to me.  I know how much sunshine they like, how often they get thirsty, and have repotted them all at least once.  Still, they surprise me with their persistence…

 

In the same way, I”m hoping to fill the conservatory with plants that Want to Live so they can survive my inexperience.  I’ve got herbs! mints, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.  I’ve got flowers! begonias, lavender, and rudbeckia.

For once I’m looking forward to winter and having my own little piece of sunshine right outside the kitchen door!

Peace

Autumn Photos

and all at once, summer collapsed into fall…          Oscar Wilde

The colors are slow to change this year, since our muggy-hot temperatures wore out their welcome.  We’ve spent the last week or so bouncing around freezing, so the yellows and oranges that I love are becoming more plentiful….on the ground!  Still, Fall is a beautiful Season…

Larry Garcia Gnome and his brother, Daryl, still maintain their tree-home down the hill…

My nasturtium has been amazing this year, blooming still…

Warm colors, cool temperatures…a month before we have to start scrambling for Christmas…I think I’ll sit back and have another cup of tea…

Peace

 

 

 

 

 

All done but the eating…

All that’s left is the basil, sage, rosemary, and that patch of garlic chive in the corner…

It was a wonderful garden season, and I learned a bunch of stuff I was already supposed to know:

  1. It’s all about the soil.  These beds were filled with fresh promix in the Spring.  All the difference…
  2. Square-foot gardening really doubles your space, but don’t crowd the squash…
  3. Mark the transplants clearly or you’ll never figure out which tomatoes are which until they fruit…
  4. Even though Casey put out the soaker hoses as I requested, he watered with watering cans…  It worked fine.

We’ve cut back the hydrangea and butterfly bushes so we can see out the windows.  The roses are not to be pruned until late Winter, early Spring.  I do need to cut back the perennial herbs, but no hurry.

I feel a little sad, but restless to move on to Autumn weather and colors.  We’re already planning for next year’s edition of the gardens.  For now, though, it’s time to sit and enjoy the harvest…

Peace

first freeze

It’s predicted that tomorrow morning we’ll wake up to temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Fahrenheit…  We set the time back Sunday morning, effectively cutting out the after-work daylight for most of us…  It’s in the air, in the sky, in our bones…the slow slide into winter, working up to the Solstice, the day when the sun begins to return.

I brought in the last, honest-to-goodness final, cuttings of basil and made some basil butter—just chop the basil and whip it into softened butter.  The sage was trimmed up and made into smudge sticks, handy for warding off demonic spirits…DSC_0006

 

But we’re still growing here…fires are keeping us warm inside and I’ve started seriously planning for next year.

….

I wrote the above on Thursday…  As we’ve continued to put away the garden, I’m less and less inclined to blog.  Oh, I could dazzle you with my fascinating take on houseplants, and I may visit and photograph some Botanical Gardens this winter, but mostly I’ll be keeping you informed with The News from Sonnystone Acres.   The holidays will be upon us before we know it and this year marks Casey’s 60th birthday, so festivities will be especially festive this season.

Thanks for following me here at the gardens, and check in at http://www.sonnystoneacres.wordpress.com and say hey…

the boring part

asthegardengrows

Last week-end we had a crew of workers swarming around, putting  a new roof on the back of the house.  We’ve done our roofing in stages and I’m glad this finishes the job.  It looks tremendously better!   I could have taken pictures of the curling, uneven shingles and contrasted them with the new flat, smooth ones, but roof shots are awfully dreary…

In order to make way for the crew to work, we took down the small fence that hid the pool and decided to sod the area.  Since the roofers left on Sunday evening,  Casey has been hard at work prepping the area.  I could show you a 20×20 area of dirt, before and after, but it’s just not that interesting.

I picked up a cheap pH tester at the Co-op to check the soil in the area where I want to move the blueberry bushes.   The readings were all on the acidic side, to we’re ready to roll on the transplant.  I could show you a picture of my new gauge registering green, but that would be rather unimaginative…

You gotta do the boring part–the dull, tedious activity– and plow through to the fascinating,  the look-at-what-I-did “After” picture.  I’ll be sure to snap some.    Till then…

Im-Bored-How-I-Met-Your-Mother